Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Kineta Knight: SailGP will not return to Lyttelton

SailGP has withdrawn its hosting agreement with ChristchurchNZ for the 2025 Season 5 event which was to be held again in Lyttelton.

The event was last held in Lyttelton in March this year when the first day was called off because a dolphin was sighted on the course. Two other dolphins were spotted in the harbour during the final race in 2023 but racing was allowed to continue.

Today’s announcement follows two iterations of the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix in Christchurch, as part of a four-year partnership with ChristchurchNZ, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited and New Zealand Major Events.

The original agreement, which included Christchurch and Auckland alternating as hosts between Seasons 3 and 6, was varied in 2023 when SailGP shifted from Auckland due to land restrictions surrounding the venue.

With the original intention to host two events fulfilled, ChristchurchNZ has accepted SailGP’s decision to withdraw from the 2025 hosting agreement.

ChristchurchNZ CEO Ali Adams said, “Hosting the New Zealand Sail Grand Prix has been a great success for Ōtautahi Christchurch. Our major motivation for hosting the event was to showcase what a vibrant, world-class venue our city has become for major events. Given that the Season 4 ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix was the world’s largest-ever ticketed sailing event that goal has been well and truly met.”

SailGP Managing Director Andrew Thompson said, “Following SailGP’s sellout success in Season 3, we’re proud to have delivered another record-setting event in Season 4, which engaged the local community, generated significant benefits throughout the region and put the beauty of Christchurch and New Zealand firmly on the world stage.”

A post-event report for SailGP by Deloitte outlines the benefits of the March event, which amassed a total economic impact of USD $20.7m for the host region, with a gross expenditure of USD $9.5m by SailGP and competing teams.

According to FreshInfo, the 2024 event generated a visitor spend of NZD $3.3m. This was based on 6,091 visitors from outside Canterbury staying an average of 2.67 nights.

Kineta Knight is a senior journalist and content producer based in Kaiapoi, North Canterbury. She has worked as a reporter for radio, television, online and print, as well as an editor of lifestyle magazine titles. This article was sourced HERE


Anonymous said...

I think this is a jealousy issue, as the event is seen as a rich white man's sport and probably seen as racist due to the lack of diversity. The dolphin thing is the excuse.

Anonymous said...

This is another example of the damage done by iwi and environmental groups who aren't accountable. The fact that the dolphins were in no danger is irrelevant. It's all about power. With that unbridled power SailGP or any other investor would be nuts to come here when their whole investment depends on the whim of deadbeats who just live off the taxpayer.

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